Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – A perfectly-executed corner kick was what it took for the Trinity Western Spartans to score the first goal any team has managed to net against the MacEwan University Griffins so far this season.
Danielle Thune knifed one towards the goal-line from the left corner in the 24th minute and Brooklyn Tidder headed it past keeper Emily Burns for the only scoring the Spartans would need to record a 1-0 win over MacEwan in Canada West women's soccer action Sunday at Clarke Stadium.
"We know we've got two or three players who are very good at set pieces and Dani's one of them," said Spartans head coach Graham Roxburgh. "She swung in a great corner and Brooklyn was very hungry in the box. She's just a tower of strength and she was able to get a flick on it. Emily's a great keeper, so to score a goal like that was awesome."
The Spartans wouldn't earn another corner all game, while MacEwan had six, and the home side perhaps deserved a better fate with tons of second-half pressure. Alas, the score remained set.
"We played on our front foot and put them in bad spots and came ever so close," said MacEwan head coach Dean Cordeiro on a second half where they outshot the Spartans 9-2 (4-2 on net). "Just the final balls we were putting in the area weren't good enough. We couldn't find it.
"Back to the drawing board, but it was a great game and a great battle. I'm proud of our efforts. Definitely, the girls left it on the pitch. You've got to put the ball in the back of the net and it just didn't come today."
The match was a battle between two of four remaining undefeated Canada West teams. The Griffins were the last ones standing yet to allow a goal in rattling off five-straight clean sheets to start the campaign.
"It was our first conceded goal in Match No. 6, so it shocks us a little bit," said Cordeiro. "But I thought, credit them. They're national runners-up. They've been at the top of Canada West for a few years here.
"It was a good opportunity for us to see where we're at. I thought we played them right to the final whistle. We were a bit unlucky."
MacEwan best two chances came at the end of the first half when Salma Kamel's 41st-minute shot from 10 feet out was deflected over the bar and Sofia DiGiacomo's point-blank attempt off a corner-kick scramble in extra time spun off the side of her boot wide.
The only loss the Spartans suffered at home last season came at the hands of the Griffins, but Roxburgh said there was nothing to the payback angle today.
"It's a new season, we have new players," he noted. "If you watched that game, it was an interesting game to lose 3-1 when we probably generated more chances, but in fairness, they had two or three really good goalmouth scrambles here, so maybe we're a bit fortunate to win today."
The Spartans (5-0-1) return home to host Victoria (3-1-2) on Sept. 27, while the Griffins (4-1-1) next visit Lethbridge (0-3-2) on Sept. 28.